Nov. 4-5, 2017



7 p.m.

Open social at Rhein Haus, 649 Division Ave.

If you're thinking about pitching a lightning talk or unconference session but aren't sure how, organizers will be on hand to talk through ideas and encourage you!


9 - 10 a.m.

Check-in and morning mingle session. This is your opportunity to pitch lightning talks or workshops for the unconference blocks at the end of the day.


10 - 11 a.m. (session block 1)

Programming 101
Kai Teoh and Rachel Alexander


Learn basic programming concepts like loops, if/else statements and more. We'll use Python for examples, but these concepts apply to SQL, Excel and other programs you might use.

Please have a text editor, such as Sublime, installed before this session. Notepad is not sufficient for this.

Escape the Spreadsheet: Basic Excel
Katie Gillespie

Learn how to free data from spreadsheets to use in your reporting. We'll talk about how to navigate large data sets, sort and filter, run basic formulas, and, if time permits, how to clean and merge tables.

Please download the following data sets before our session:


Tip sheet

IPEDS Institutional Characteristics

IPEDS Data Dictionary

2016-2017 OSPI Demographics by School

2011-2012 OSPI Demographics by School

New Mexico Enrollment


11:15 a.m. - noon

Lightning talks.

Not sure what that means or how to pitch a talk? Read more here.


noon - 1 p.m. (Lunch)

Bring your lunch to breakout conversations. Other topics may be added or substituted depending on interest.

  • Imposter syndrome
  • Dealing with sexism in the field
  • FOIA tips and tricks


1 - 2:30 p.m. (SESSION BLOCK 2)

Thomas Wilburn

Learn to build simple scrapers using Python and other tools. Before attending this session, please sign up for a PythonAnywhere account and make Thomas (twilburn) your "teacher." 

Talking about data and advanced Excel
Steve Doig

Slides and data

First, we'll talk about what kind of data is available, how to get it out of a PDF (if that's all an agency will give you) and tips for talking to sources (the human ones) about your data.

Then, we'll dive into more advanced Excel techniques for making your data tell its secrets, from pivot tables to basic statistics and more complicated formulas.


3 - 4:30 p.m. (SESSION BLOCK 3)

Fabulous FOIA
Kate Martin

Learn about what kinds of records are available and how to get them. We'll focus on Washington laws.

Mapping for reporting and data visualization
Emily Eng and Thomas Wilburn


Maps can help you find stories and display information for readers. Using QGIS and Leaflet, both free programs, we'll show you how to find information and make maps for display.

Before this session, please:

-Install QGIS on your computer

- Download this natural earth package (Note: download takes about 10-15 minutes)

- Download the shape files of counties in Washington state

- Download this data set


5 - 5:45 p.m. (SESSION BLOCK 4)


Not sure how what this means or how to pitch a session? Read our guide here.


5:45 - 6:30 p.m. (SESSION BLOCK 4)



6:30 p.m.  and onward

Dinner and drinks

Location TBD.

Need a refresher?

Missed a session? Not clear on something? Vote for the topics you'd like a refresher on. We'll go over them again Sunday morning.


9 - 10 a.m.

Check-in and morning mingle

10 - 11 a.m. (Session block 1)

Refresh your memory

We'll go over the highlights of topics the group voted to rehash.

11 a.m. - 2 p.m.


An opportunity for people to work with instructors on their own data, learn a topic not covered earlier and collaborate with other journalists on projects. Lunch is on your own, and there's no pressure to stay the entire time.